By Sheryl Guterl

She shyly covers her breast
with a tattered blanket,
smiles at the infant,
who searches, eyes closed, mouth open,
for his nourishment.
she sighs when the baby latches on,
and only then looks up to meet my stare.

I look away, embarrassed
by my bold gape,
amazed at this miracle of beauty
here—in a cheap motel lobby,
where men, boys, women, and
lots of children are being fed.

After days, weeks, maybe months
of walking, hitching, waiting
without water
without food
without showers
without rest,

these families are now safe, for a while,
still moist from their showers,
uncomfortable in donated clothes,
hydrated but still weak
from the lack,
in shock from the journey.

On the food line, they point
to beans, rice, chicken, corn, cheese.
The young ones come back for more,
eyes lowered, unsure if it is ok
to be so in need.

The children are given toys.
they hug soccer balls, dolls, a yo-yo.
In the corner is the Madonna,
nursing her infant son
draped in a blue blanket
and hope.

Sheryl Guteri

Sheryl Guterl, a retired elementary school teacher and counselor, lives in enchanting New Mexico.  Besides writing, she enjoys walking her dog, singing, reading, tutoring adults in English as a Second Language, and leading student tours as a docent at the Albuquerque Museum. Sheryl’s poems are nurtured by the desert landscape and diverse cultures and people of her home state, as well as the lush forests of New Hampshire, where she relaxes beside a pristine lake in the summer.

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